One of the most critical practices we as hobbyists can use to help increase our odds of success with newly-acquired fishes and inverts is to embrace a simple acclimation procedure before adding the new arrivals to our aquariums.
This practice reduces stress, which can be life-threatening to a new fish, particularly if it came from an environment that is substantially different than the one in your aquarium. It's heartbreaking- and entirely unnecessary- to lose a beloved animal because of a simple ommission or shortcut in a simple process.
Proper acclimation procedure is simply essential part of aquarium "best practices", along with quarantine and environmental monitoring.
As you probably know by now, I'm a big fan of the Innovative Marine Accu-Drip Acclimator. It's an inexpensive, easy-to-use device designed to facilitate simple and efficient drip acclimation of tropical fishes and invertebrates.
This ridiculously simple, yet absolutely ingenious device is a virtual "no-brainer" for any fish geek to have in his or her "tool kit." You literally hook it up to your tank, squeeze the little plastic bulb to get the flow started, and adjust the water drip rate with a simple snap wheel. No more siphons, no more aquarium water in your mouth, having to tie airline hose in a knot to "control" the drip rate.
You can acclimate fishes and inverts with so little effort with this device that it's almost a shame that this isn't considered "standard issue" equipment by every vendor who sells tropical fish.
How long should you take to acclimate your fishes? Well, it depends, really, on what types of animals you're acclimating! For most fishes, I'd recommend that the process take about an hour, which facilitates a drip rate of like one to three drops per second (roughly). For more delicate animals, the process can be extended to up to two hours, so you'd adjust to a slower drip rate of like 1-2 drops per second.
Acclimation is such an important and critical step in acquiring new fishes and invest that we should all take the time to learn a bit more about the process. It will help reduce shock or stress to the animals brought about by rapid changes in pH, temperature, or specific gravity (in the case of marine fishes). Having a simple acclimation protocol in place is one of the single most important things you can do to help ensure that your new fishes get off to a great start in your aquarium.
The Innovative Marine Accu-Drip Acclimator is simply one of the best investments you can make to help assure success with your newly received fishes, and we cannot recommend this product enough!